The following recap contains massive spoilers (DUH). Please don’t read ahead unless you are perfectly ok with that fact or have seen the episode.
The wait is finally over, and Winter is finally here. The Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere begins with a feast at the Freys. Walder Frey stands and explains he has gathered every Frey that means anything together so he can announce his plans now that Winter is here. He proposes a toast with his best wine, but doesn’t allow his child bride to take a sip. As his speech about the Red Wedding turns from congratulatory to accusatory, we realize it’s Arya Stark in a disguise and she has poisoned every last remaining Frey. After everyone is dead, Arya turns to Walder’s bride and says, “When you are asked about what happened here, you tell them the North remembers. You tell them Winter came for House Frey,” and then she takes her leave.
After the title sequence, we are taken to the North where the undead army is marching. Up until this point, we haven’t seen so many at one time. Among the army are also giant wights, which we have not seen up until now.
Meera Reed finally arrives at the Wall with Bran. Bran lets them know that the Night King is on his way with his army. The members of the watch bring Bran in away from the cold.
Meanwhile, Jon Snow is telling the North about the importance of Dragonglass. He also states that everyone, including women need to be trained to fight. At first there is disagreement about women fighting, but Lady Mormont (YASSSSSS QUEEN) quickly puts the fight to rest. However, when Jon brings up the matter of the Umbers and the Karstarks, Sansa Stark disagrees with him. She feels that since the Umbers and Karstarks betrayed Jon, their ancestral homes should be taken away and given to loyal families. Jon refuses to take away a family’s home based on the actions of a couple of reckless people. The tension in the room as Sansa and Jon disagree is palpable. Jon finally puts his foot down and states his decision is final.
Outside after the meeting, Jon talks to Sansa about the implications of her disagreeing with him in front of everyone. She states that it is good someone question him. Sansa does tell Jon how good he is at ruling, then. Sansa does voice her concern about some of his decisions, though. She tells him he needs to be smarter of both their father and smarter than Rob. While they are talking, they receive word from Cersei demanding they come to Kings Landing and swear allegiance.
In Kings Landing, Jaime Lannister confronts Cersei about all that has happened. She retorts with how Tyrion is now Danaery’s Hand and is bringing enemies to destroy them. She says that if Jaime hadn’t let him go, he wouldn’t be leading enemies to them. Jaime tries to make her see that she is following a folly. He points out they don’t have enough allies to fight off everyone who is coming for them. Cersei tells him, though, that she didn’t live with their father her whole life and not learn anything. She allied with the Greyjoys. Jaime still isn’t convinced, as the Greyjoys have been known to be untrustworthy, but Cersei doesn’t seem concerned.
Sam is steady training to be a Maester at the Citadel. However, it seems his duties so far consist of nothing but grunt work. Day in and day out he’s cleaning bed pans, putting books away, and serving food. Every day as he puts books away, however, he notices a gated off section with a book that almost seems to be calling him behind it. One day as he is helping the Arch Maester with an autopsy, he asks if he can have access to the restricted area, since he has seen the army of the dead. Sam is hoping to get more information about the wights. The Arch Maester doesn’t seem concerned with the wight walkers. He explains to Sam that life in the Citadel is different than life anywhere else. Wars come and go, disasters come and go, the Citadel still stands. Later that evening, Sam takes matters into his own hands, steals some keys, and takes the books he needs.
As she is riding through the woods, Arya happens upon a group of soldiers who offer her some food. She listens to them talk about their lives. It hits her as it hits us the audience how the soldiers are individuals with real lives and are not just mindless fodder. Eventually they ask her why she is on her way to Kings Landing to which she replies, “I am going to kill the queen.” They don’t think she is being serious and they all have a good laugh.
Clegane and his new Lord of Light worshipping friends happen upon the same house he and Arya had found themselves previously. The father and daughter are both dead having met a grisly fate. Clegane can’t understand what the Lord of Light wants, so they invite him to look into the fire they have built in order to find answers. Clegane sees the Wall and finally knows that there really is a purpose to what is happening. Later that night, he buries the father and daughter so they may rest in peace.
Back at the Citadel Sam is studying through all of the books he took from the Library. He finds a map that shows the location of an entire mountain of Dragonglass beneath the earth. Sam immediately writes a message to Jon to inform him of this discovery.
Danearys finally makes it back to Westeros. The gravity of her emotions is written all over her face. She places her hands in the sand to feel home. She has made it to Castle Dragonstone, her ancestral home. The inside of the castle looks as if no one has been there for ages. She and Tyrion walk into the war room and look around. The episode ends with Danarys looking to Tyrion and saying, “Shall we begin?”
Not a whole lot of earth shattering events happened this episode. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t still thoroughly enjoy it. This episode wrapped up the end of last season well along with setting the stage for the insanity yet to come. Winter is here, and it is going to be one crazy ride.